AUSTIN, TX — KC Lightfoot earned All-America honors in the pole vault, clearing 18-8.25 to finish in fourth place Wednesday at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
“KC, to be in the greatest vault competition in NCAA history and to come out fourth as a freshman, that’s amazing,” head coach Todd Harbour said. “What can you say? Coach (Brandon) Richards has just done an incredible job with him. You’re just so proud of him.”
It was Lightfoot’s second All-America accolade of 2019 as he pulled off the indoor/outdoor double as a freshman. The Lee’s Summit, Mo., native is Baylor’s first outdoor pole vault All-American since Jim Autenreith in 2002. Lightfoot’s fourth-place finish is the highest finish by a Bear in the outdoor pole vault since Kurt Hanna’s runner-up performance in 1997.
In the men’s 400 meters, Wil London cruised to a time of 45.32 to take second in his heat (fourth overall) and earn an automatic spot in Friday’s final. Howard Fields III concluded his season in the 400 with a time of 46.05, the 15th-best time.
“It was a good day for Wil in the open 400,” Harbour said. “Howard ran well, also.”
Baylor closed out the evening with a heroic effort in the 4x400-meter relay, finishing with a season-best time of 3:02.54 to earn a spot in Friday’s final.
On the second leg, Fields fought through to get the baton to Chris Platt, who ran a 45.49 split to pass it off to London. London proceeded to split 44.16 and bring Baylor all the way back to second place, giving the Bears an automatic spot in Friday’s final.
“I think it was an outstanding first day,” Harbour said. “It ended with the 4x4 running our best time of the year with a young man that really had to dig down deep. I’m just proud of all four of those guys, Matthew and Chris and Howard and Wil, because that was an incredible effort by Howard to get them through that.
“Wil was back. But, you just knew, Wil’s a competitor, he’s a senior. You just knew he was going to do it. If he had to run 43, he was going to run 43. He was going to run whatever it took. That’s just who Wil is. A lot of heart. I’m just proud of those guys. You can’t be more proud of a group. It wasn’t easy. You think about what we could have run if Howard hadn’t had that issue with his leg. But to still get there, having to run like that, that’s just impressive. I’m proud of them.”
Baylor will continue action in Austin Thursday as Aaliyah Miller competes in the women’s 800 meters (8:44 p.m. CT) and the women’s 4x400-meter relay team takes the stage in the prelims (10:18 p.m. CT).
For continued updates on the Baylor Track & Field team, follow the team's social media accounts all season long: @BaylorTrack.